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As a supporter of the build thread, I thought I should contribute so here is a condensed look at some of the modifications inflicted on what was a standard 2006, smoky grey, face lift SC430. Even though it will be a shortened version, I will need to post it in installments. 

As a long time Soarer fanatic, I had been keen for some time to purchase an SC430 for a project. After a very long search, one eventually appeared. The bodywork was straight, service history great but the paintwork had clearly been neglected. There were many light surface scratches, the wheels had been curbed, the exhaust was rusty, etc, 

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 I was just what I had been looking for, though blue would have been nice.

 

It's common to find the exhaust trims rusty, loose or missing. 

First tasks were to fit some spare exhaust trims (I had stored away for a GS430) and then get it thoroughly serviced. Plugs, oil, filters, cam-belt, water pump, pulleys, tensioner, etc.

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With a body kit on order I set about changing the head unit to an Alpine with a Beat-Sonic MVA13L interface/adapter from the US. I was aware that the harness needed to be modified to work in a European car and that no one else had done it or at least documented how to do it but why start with anything easy?

It took a few hours to figure it all out but it wasn't too difficult to establish which wires needed to be altered.

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Removing the head unit is quite easy. Installing the double din unit into the door opening mechanism takes a little time to get right as some of the metal surround has to be cut back and made good to allow the door to move freely.

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Whilst I was playing with the head unit I also considered using an Ipad with an OBD interface to see what could be achieved.

Here's a sample of some of the screens and gauges. I like them but finding a permanent way to display them would require more dash fab work than I was prepared to do.

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So order was returned to the centre console with the Alpine head unit hidden away.

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This is what it looks like at night. This is a later pic as the custom steering wheel has suddenly appeared. More on that later.

Up next, the body kit and the exhaust.

Delivery of the kit and removing the panels.

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That is very impressive! I wish I had half your skills. I am not sure about the body kit - will be interesting to see it fitted to the car.

 

Really thought the photos were good. Very inspirational - well done ..... so far!

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10 hours ago, Spacewagon52 said:

That is very impressive! I wish I had half your skills. I am not sure about the body kit - will be interesting to see it fitted to the car.

 

Really thought the photos were good. Very inspirational - well done ..... so far!

Thanks David this isn't in 'real' time so you won't need to wait too long. One element I wasn't looking forward to was cutting and adapting the front bumper to accept the headlamp washers. The rear bumper is also a pain as it has no cut outs for fogs or reversing lamps but I knew that when I took it on....

 

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Looking great. A friend of mine is in the market for an SC430, and he lives near me so I'm looking forward to getting in the drivers seat.

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Trial fitting the front end. I don't like the amber corner markers on the SC so they won't be transferred to the new panels. it looks far too friendly with the circular fog light holders so that's another mod to do.

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8 minutes ago, The-Acre said:

Looking great. A friend of mine is in the market for an SC430, and he lives near me so I'm looking forward to getting in the drivers seat.

Hi Phil they are quite different to an LS, more like a GS430 in handling terms, just a little bit more fun and it's a different experience with the roof down too. As a Soarer fan I was less interested in the open-top side of things and thought the roof would stay on but I confess if the weather is good, I do drop the top.

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Attaching the rear bumper was quite a task as the fixings are awkward. Add to that the various wires I was adding for a back up camera, LEDs for reversing lights and experimenting with a central mounted fog light. 

The private plate was moved from the LS to the SC and I began to look at a 'stick on' rear spoiler too. I looked around and settled on a an old Celica spoiler but I could see it was going to be very difficult to adapt and attach.

With the slight flaring of the front and rear arches the wheels were beginning to look a little lost so wider rims replaced them. IMG_81182.jpg.3c512268f719d75958d8fc6b7572977e.jpgIMG_81183.jpg.135b01547eea75877c870d1e33605a6b.jpgIMG_81184.jpg.6b9bd2afba4eedb955fe5d933bab512a.jpgIMG_81187.jpg.49c86ce277c5d950815f53d27f42a17f.jpgIMG_81190.jpg.c2e9bbc4ef9dfb886564fd8a5f92b585.jpgIMG_81195.jpg.35d5697e0c9db5cdebe12fd3cad6b3a6.jpgIMG_81207.jpg.5e0bdfea6d3ac89ad454e23facb1cf3e.jpgIMG_81208.jpg.ac870f52d2c559dcb7924aa5f89ecd37.jpg

 

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Cracking thread sir! Never got chance to catch up on your other thread so thanks for posting it here!

Not a car I ever seen up this neck of the woods but looks a fantastic bit of kit to have a play with. Looking forward to seeing the bodykit fitted! Looks very eye catching but not too over the top, think the body colour also helps keep it simple!

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25 minutes ago, dougie175 said:

Cracking thread sir! Never got chance to catch up on your other thread so thanks for posting it here!

Not a car I ever seen up this neck of the woods but looks a fantastic bit of kit to have a play with. Looking forward to seeing the bodykit fitted! Looks very eye catching but not too over the top, think the body colour also helps keep it simple!

Thanks Robb

The SC430 has the potential to be a bit of a wolf but instead Lexus dressed it up like grandma rather than a sheep and toned it down to appeal to a certain wealthy section of middle America. Top gear (Hammond) had quite a rant at it, as did many Soarer fans, not least for its styling and lack of practicality. I personally think Lexus missed the mark by a long, long way after the previous Soarer was such an amazing machine.

The SC430 should have pushed the boundaries and been an edgy, sports coupe, much like the LCF as that was the way of the Soarer but I think Lexus were influenced too much by the lines of other cars of the day.  I had 2 Soarers for many years, both modified, they were replaced by 2 x GS430s and an LS430 but I said I would find time to go back and have a go at modifying an SC430, the last of the Soarers.

I've left out a lot of the details to progress it quickly, no doubt you will be wanting to see some metallic paint next.

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Are you an engineer by profession? If not where to acquire such skills? I am amazed what you guys are prepared to tackle.

 

You could make a list of all the guys with different skills on this forum - put them together and create a great car - detailing being the last thing byRayaans!

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Well done @Neil E, I never saw your original thread so have enjoyed reading through the build here :thumbup:

The body kit is subtle and in keeping with the car.  I love the gills front and rear.

Looking forward to seeing more progress/paint and whatever you have in store for us next...

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2 hours ago, Spacewagon52 said:

Are you an engineer by profession? If not where to acquire such skills? I am amazed what you guys are prepared to tackle.

 

You could make a list of all the guys with different skills on this forum - put them together and create a great car - detailing being the last thing byRayaans!

I'm in put me down I will paint the thing!

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Great thread, great skills.

i would be interested to know what your thoughts on the GS430 are as you said you have had a couple?

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17 hours ago, Neil E said:

Hi Phil they are quite different to an LS, more like a GS430 in handling terms, just a little bit more fun and it's a different experience with the roof down too. As a Soarer fan I was less interested in the open-top side of things and thought the roof would stay on but I confess if the weather is good, I do drop the top.

I'm really looking forward to him getting one, hopefully this year some time.  You've done a great job there, looks brilliant.

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7 hours ago, Eame64 said:

Great thread, great skills.

i would be interested to know what your thoughts on the GS430 are as you said you have had a couple?

Thanks

GS430 - great car, brilliant all-rounder. Quick comfortable, utterly reliable.

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In my view the earlier one has a better quality interior and still has the Lexus feel of alternative styling. The later model is more of a sleeper with a little more tech.IMG_80336.jpg.67c4b47b7cf92f5609eba6264e121021.jpg

Usually a bargain as many are put off by the thirsty V8 but it's actually much better than you might expect. Really quick and agile for a big car. I miss the radar cruise. Just make sure the cam-belt service and water pump has been done or get them done and check the rear suspension. The rear struts are a known weakness. Fit 2 new ones and enjoy.

6 hours ago, The-Acre said:

I'm really looking forward to him getting one, hopefully this year some time.  You've done a great job there, looks brilliant.

Cheers Phil, I see you are in Sussex. If you can't wait or if your mate wants to see a slightly non-standard SC send me a PM some time and we can do a mini meet.

11 hours ago, Spacewagon52 said:

Are you an engineer by profession? If not where to acquire such skills? I am amazed what you guys are prepared to tackle.

 

You could make a list of all the guys with different skills on this forum - put them together and create a great car - detailing being the last thing byRayaans!

Robb is the guy with the skills. I'm not an engineer, I'm just daft enough to give it a go. I was tinkering with cars before I could drive. Made plenty of mistakes along the way but now I am confident to take most things on and can decide whether I will do a particular task or give it to a trusted local garage to do it. For example I will show you shortly the rear spoiler, the first effort was too big and heavy, (looked like a Porsche whale tail) the second wasn't perfect but not bad so I painted, wet-sanded and lacquered it using spray cans and attached it to the boot knowing that it would later go into the paint shop to be finished properly and baked on. So there's no great risk. 

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10 hours ago, Farqui said:

Well done @Neil E, I never saw your original thread so have enjoyed reading through the build here :thumbup:

The body kit is subtle and in keeping with the car.  I love the gills front and rear.

Looking forward to seeing more progress/paint and whatever you have in store for us next...

Thanks Lee there are a few bits in the SC430 section but the original is 'elsewhere.' After supporting Robb in the request for a build thread, I thought I ought to make an effort to contribute to it. There was slight hesitancy as some like and even obsess about modifications but others might fairly argue that I've ruined a very nice car.

I'm going to try to keep to the correct chronology as much as possible but I didn't realize how difficult this was going to be to produce.

Whilst further modification of the front bumper holds up the paintwork the car gained a custom made strut brace from the Lexusman and a new, bigger battery.

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You haven't ruined the car at all but I understand what you're saying about folks that prefer to keep a car standard. Each to their own eh, it's your car and I think it looks fab. 

The strut brace looks smart, did you notice any difference to the steering/handling or ride? I guess the only drawback is that the engine cover now takes a bit longer to remove? #notabigeee

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30 minutes ago, Farqui said:

You haven't ruined the car at all but I understand what you're saying about folks that prefer to keep a car standard. Each to their own eh, it's your car and I think it looks fab. 

The strut brace looks smart, did you notice any difference to the steering/handling or ride? I guess the only drawback is that the engine cover now takes a bit longer to remove?

I agree with you Lee and I also respect the fact that some owners like to maintain their cars in original condition, there's a lot to be said for that but in my view Lexus didn't do justice to the SC430. I admit to being a serial modifier but I think the SC was crying out for it.

Perhaps because there's no rigid roof, the strut brace does seem to make a difference, it takes 5 minutes to remove so it's not really a problem. I also replaced the anti-roll bar with a thicker one. I haven't replaced the rear anti-roll bar yet but I know the ISF ARB fits with slightly shorter drop links so that's on the shopping list.

LED reversing lights now work, 

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Experimental rear spoiler under construction. this one got bigger and bigger and was eventually scrapped.IMG_1345s.JPG.984268c818e3ba9d0c51a74f19b00709.JPG

A little trip to the Midlands to delete the third cat and fit a stainless steel exhaust. I didn't want it to be too loud as further hifi would follow later so settled on a 'mid sport' sound. IMG_1317.JPG.ce4f61a79c2a557b608ed790bbcc44e0.JPG

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With the exhaust flowing just slightly better, I was surprised to admit it felt a shade quicker through the gears so curious after getting the alignment corrected I took it for a spin on the dyno.

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Prepping for the Dynajet rolling road.

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Dynos are strange measuring devices as figures vary significantly depending on how they are set up and what the conditions are on any given day, etc, etc so I take all readings with a large pinch of salt but 281 bhp was a good result and just about what I expected. (279 bhp standard) No significant power gain but oddly it did seem to pull noticeably better. With nothing scientific to back it up it should only be regarded as an impression, nothing more.

There's no danger to ISFs at the traffic light grand prix just yet, though the garage owner wanted me to consider a twin turbo install with a piggyback ecu delivering 600 bhp. He claimed to have a map for the 430 and could complete it for around £10k but when I mentioned engine internals, suitable gearboxes and a diff to deliver the power he agreed that my figure well North of £15k would be more realistic.

 

 

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Okay so it must be time for a trip to the paint shop.

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And then I added the boot spoiler. This was the second version, it had taken ages to make with fibre glass. Painted and lacquered with spray cans as it wasn't ready in time for the paint shop. (It was later improved and painted professionally)

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Wow what a great transformation, well done :thumbup:" />

The front/sides look much more purposeful, the kit isn't OTT and doesn't look out of place on the car at all.

The zoorst looks fab and I bet it sounds nice and fruity too :biggrin:" width="20" />

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looks really good, the body kit sort of reminds me of something?  mgb rv8? got a retro look to it

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8 hours ago, Farqui said:

Wow what a great transformation, well done :thumbup:

The front/sides look much more purposeful, the kit isn't OTT and doesn't look out of place on the car at all.

The zoorst looks fab and I get it sounds nice and fruity too :biggrin:

Cheers Lee, I wish I had modified the skirts and the front bumper a little more, indeed I may go back and do that if I keep the car for a while longer. The exhaust sounds like a V8 at this point, not loud at all.....more on that come.:biggrin:

6 hours ago, tim1830 said:

looks really good, the body kit sort of reminds me of something?  mgb rv8? got a retro look to it

Yes Tim, I didn't realize until much later there are hints of other cars from around the same time including a BMW front end, perhaps less so after I removed the fog light holders in favour of bigger air ducts.

Here's a pic of an SC that looks just right from side on. 

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They always look better lowered and so came the swap to adjustable MeisterR coil-overs with just a modest drop.

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The swap to MeisterR coil-overs transforms the ride and the handling. I usually set it quite firm at the front and much softer at the back for a good compromise. It's probably the best mod you can do to an SC430. 

 

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Yep I'm loving that the kit works really well! Its very sporty but subtle and classy at the same time. Great work very impressed

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Glad you like the Mesiter R's as much as I do they are a fantastic mod for the IS too, ideal for comfort and sporty looks with better handling too, what more can you ask for!

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So glad that you didn't drop it too much, looks about spot on that :thumbup:

I fitted those coil overs to my Honda and they were...firm, handling was fantastic tho. Robb has them on his IS and rates them, so maybe the spring/dampers are a better setup for Lexus. They're rebuildable and you get good customer service from the manufacturer, all of which bodes well.

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